Using the “Power of Three” in financial planning

by Philip Reynolds

The “Power of Three” is a well-known structure used in marketing. However, what I didn’t notice was that it was used so widely.

Not specific to financial planning, but still the “Power of Three”, everyone knows the stories of the Three Wise Men, Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears & Three Blind Mice.

Seems obvious now – doesn’t it!

So back to the “Power of Three” – it seems that using three in a story or to get information across to the reader is deliberate and relates to how humans process information. This means in a story of three, we are more likely to remember the story along with the emotions and theory behind it.

Three is the smallest number to create a pattern, and humans recognise and remember patterns much more effectively than odd frequencies. Once a pattern is formed, the brain can process it and store it to memory, as anyone who has used various memory techniques will attest to.

What has this got to do with financial planning?

Financial plans are the foundations of the good work financial planners do with clients. A good financial plan can not only empower a client to take action for a better tomorrow, but it also gives the blueprint for how to do it.

We know that an engaged client is more likely to take action, and therefore, it is worth taking a step back and considering the impact of the plan you have created.

It is easy to want to try and provide solutions to every client problem and goal, especially when you can see many options or planning opportunities, but it is often a few smaller achievable actions that a client is more likely to be on board with. After all, as humans, we can only focus on a few things at a time, and I tend to think of it like buying jam. If you wanted some jam, but you were presented with 50 different flavours and combinations, it is easy to be unsure of what you actually want. However, if you walked into the next shop and they had three options, you are more likely to make a clear decision.

Whilst it is tempting to try and recommend every possible solution to a client in a Financial Plan (after all we are trying to do what is best for our clients), by choosing three to work on, at least initially, you can focus and engage the mind of the client.

Financial Plans can easily become like any other financial document: long winded and a chore to read. Another option is to have no more than three ideas or key points on a page for the same reasons.

This will provide the client with the opportunity to read and digest the information being given. Clever use of imagery, colour and text allows you to draw the eye to the more important areas, and this can make the plan a call to action, A good Financial Plan will excite a client.

We work with a wide range of real Financial Planners and assist them with creating Financial Plans for their clients all the time. We also provide templates to firms that want to start creating Financial Plans for their clients but don’t know where to start. If you would like our support in creating Financial Plans for your clients, get in touch with us at

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